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PHI Phillies vs TEX Rangers
Take TEX Rangers

Saturday's 4* Hammer Shocker is a play on the Rangers with Padilla over Hamels. We took the OVER in last night's matchup between these two teams, citing the hitter-friendly venue along with the current poor pitching form of Myers and Gabbard. Today, we have better hurlers on the bump, but the park is still a great team-equalizer. As far as the pitchers are concerned, Hamels owns a decent 4.05 road ERA. But it must be noted that those numbers have come agains the NL, where pitchers hit for themselves. Meanwhile, Padilla has been outstanding in this tough to pitch stadium, holding a sparkling 3.00 ERA against AL squads, obviously with a designated hitter. Considering the park, Padilla is actually much better than Hamels in tonight's situation. The wrong team opened the favorite and I'm playing Texas as my Underdog Shocker on Saturday.

TB Rays vs PIT Pirates
Take Over

I'm playing the Over in the Rays/Pirates game Saturday. Edwin Jackson of Tampa Bay has been struggling recently. His ERA over his last six starts is 6.03, with an awful WHIP of 1.66. Pittsburgh is scheduled to start an off-rotation pitcher (Taubenheim). Even if there's a late change, whoever throws for the Pirates is likely to have trouble getting this potent Rays offense out. Tampa Bay just scored 27 runs in a three-game sweep at Florida! Both offenses should put up some runs against tonight's pitchers. If each gets to five, we have a winner right there. Either offense could explode and do most of the work themselves. Pittsburgh scored 10 runs off the Yankees in a home game this week, and allowed 12 in another. Scoring has really picked up in the Northeast since the temperatures started rising. And, both of these offenses are more potent than the betting markets seem to realize. I expect a very high scoring game this evening. The Over in the Rays/Pirates game is the play.

COL Rockies vs DET Tigers
Take DET Tigers

Saturday's 5* Personal Favorite Blowout is a play on the Tigers with Verlander over Francis. Every once in a while, a side that opens around -1.65 does provide strong value. I think you'll agree after reading my analysis. Not too long ago, Colorado seemed to be snapping out of their spring-funk. Well, after a brief run, it looks as though their season will be a funk. Last night's six-run loss at Detroit made it five straight losses for last year's runner-up. Throwing Jeff Francis has meant instant slump-buster in recent seasons, but not in 2008. Francis has been tagged for a 6.07 road ERA against the weaker NL lineups. Tonight, he must face a Detroit Tiger team that has squashed the National League in June. The Tigers enter Saturday's contest with a 10-3 mark in their last 13 tries against the NL. They're averaging 5.85 runs per game in those outings, including the three losses, with an average margin of almost two runs per game. Meanwhile, after a slow start, Justin Verlander has been simply nasty since mid-May. The lefty has held his last nine opponnets to a grand total of 16 earned runs in 53 1/3 innnings pitched. That's a fantastic 2.70 ERA to go along with a 1.16 WHIP! I look for another dominant effort against a Rockies' team that's scored a total of 11 runs during their current five-game skid. Detroit is my Persoanl Favorite Blowout on Saturday.

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Larry Ness 15* Rivalry Game of the Week (42-29 with GOW plays since Opening Day)

My 15* play is on the Oak A's at 9:05 ET.

There is little doubt that Tim Lincecum has established himself as one of the NL's "up and coming" starting pitchers this year, despite playing for one of its worst teams. He's 8-1 with a 2.54 ERA in 15 starts (has one win as a reliever and the team is 10-5 in his starts) on the year for a team that's 34-46. He's 5-0 on the road with a 2.09 ERA in eight starts (team is 5-3) but in his last outing, saw a 5th-inning lead of 10-3 disappear in an 11-10 team loss (he got a no decision while pitching five innings while allowing six hits and five ERs). That followed his previous outing (a home start vs Detroit), in which he had allowed four ERs and six hits over seven innings of another no decision (SF won that one, 8-6). These back-to-back outings are significant because in his first 13 starts of '08, Lincecum had never allowed more than three ERs in ANY start (allowed as many as three ERs just four times). His last two starts (12 IP / 12 hits / 9 ERs / 6.75 ERA) could be a sign that things are "starting to unravel." He'll be tested here, vs an Oakland team which has dominated its cross-bay rivals. The A's took all three games in San Francisco from June 13-15, winning 5-1, 4-0 and 5-3. Last night, the A's won 4-1, making it four straight wins over the Giants in '08, outscoring them 18-5. That really shouldn't come as a surprise, as the A's have now won seven straight and 10 of the last 11 meetings between the two rivals. They've outscored the Giants 31-8 during their seven-game winning streak, with Oakland pitchers (A's own MLB's best team ERA this year at 3.35 ) posting a 1.13 ERA. Speaking of hot pitchers, Lincecum will be matched up against Oakland's Justin Duchscherer. The A's keep losing outstanding pitchers, yet continue to come up with replacements. Duchscherer began with Texas back in 2001 and came to Oakland (did not play in '02) in '03. Over the next five years (through '07), he made 192 appearances but just three starts. He opened this season as a starter but went on the DL right after winning his first start of the season, 6-3 over Cleveland (5 IP / 4 hits / 1 ER). A strained right biceps kept him sidelined until April 26, when he returned, "as good as new." He went five innings in a 5-3 loss at Seattle but allowed just two ERs (six hits). He's been "in the zone" since and enters this game having made 12 starts in '08, just ONCE allowing as many as three ERs. He leads the AL in ERA (1.99) and is a perfect 6-0 in six home starts, allowing only 23 hits and seven ERs over 41.2 innings (1.52 ERA). Expect Oakland's recent domination over San Francisco to continue tonight. Rivalry Game of the Week 15* Oak A's.

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